NAPSNet Daily Report
monday, december 15, 2003

I. United States

II. Republic of Korea

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I. United States

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1. DPRK Multilateral Talks

Agence France-Presse ("US BLAMES NORTH KOREA FOR DELAY IN NORTH KOREA CRISIS TALKS," 12/15/03) reported that the US on Monday blamed DPRK "preconditions" for delaying six-nation nuclear crisis talks, but President George W. Bush still claimed progress in bringing Pyongyang back to the table. The US said publicly for the first time that the PRC had admitted defeat in the effort to resume the dialogue this year -- but said it was ready to get going as soon as possible in the new year. "The PRC got back to us and said, looking at the way the schedule had been anticipated, it was technically not possible to hold it this week," said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. "So we're now looking at early in the new year." The DPRK had earlier put the blame on Washington for the delay in the talks, which had been expected to go ahead this week in Beijing. Boucher said Pyongyang was trying to negotiate the nuts and bolts of any accord to dismantle its nuclear program before any talks even took place. "It shouldn't be a precondition of accepting the other side's proposals before you even sit down and talk," he said. "We have not set any preconditions for the talks and we don't think the North Koreans should either."

Agence France-Presse ("NORTH KOREA REJECTS US PROPOSAL FOR SIX-PARTY TALKS," Seoul, 12/15/03) reported that the DPRK rejected a US proposal to ease the crisis over its nuclear drive, saying Washington was delaying six-party talks and forcing Pyongyang to "steadily" build up its nuclear deterrent force. The DPRK's ruling Workers Party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said the proposal ignored Pyongyang's own offer of "simultaneous actions" to defuse the crisis, including a nuclear freeze in return for concessions from the US. "The US wasting time would do the DPRK nothing bad," Rodong said in Pyongyang's first reaction to the US offer. "Its delaying tactics would only result in compelling the DPRK to steadily increase its nuclear deterrent force." The DPRK said the US still had time to accept the DPRK's own proposal for the resumption of talks. "It is an invariable stand of the DPRK government on the six-way talks that it is a key to the solution of the nuclear issue and a core point to be agreed upon between the DPRK and the US to seek a package solution based on the principle of simultaneous actions," the newspaper said.

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2. Reactions to US Saddam Hussein Capture

Agence France-Presse ("PRC MEDIA SAY TROUBLE NOT OVER FOR US IN IRAQ DESPITE SADDAM CAPTURE," 12/15/03) reported that PRC state-run newspapers have warned that trouble for the US administration in Iraq is likely far from over, despite the capture of the country's former dictator Saddam Hussein. An editorial in the Beijing Youth Daily said the detention of Saddam was unlikely to lead to an immediate decline in the number of attacks on US and other foreign forces in Iraq. "Some analysts believe the fact Saddam has fallen into enemy hands could even boost the morale of those offering armed resistance to the US forces," it warned. "The attacks on US forces could increase rather than decline." The capture of Saddam probably did not mean a major blow to the guerrilla war in Iraq, Peking University scholar Wang Lian said in a commentary in the same paper. The way he was caught, without firing so much as one shot, suggested a man who had long ceased being a rallying figure for anti-US forces, according to Wang. "That kind of person cannot possibly be the spiritual leader of a resistance movement," he wrote. The Beijing Morning Post also said the capture of Saddam did not mean the sudden solutions of all outstanding issues in Iraq, and suggested a trial held in Iraq could backfire. "A possible headache for the US and British occupation administration is whether Saddam will use his trial as a platform to express his views and deal with the Americans and the British," it said. All China's major papers carried Saddam's capture on their front pages.

Agence France-Presse ("JAPAN SAYS TERRORISM STILL THREAT TO ITS TROOPS AFTER SADDAM'S CAPTURE," 12/15/03) reported that terrorist attacks may still threaten Japanese troops that will be dispatched to Iraq even after the capture of former leader Saddam Hussein, according to Japan's defense chief. "It is a big step forward, but I do not think this means that terrorism will completely disappear (in Iraq)," Japan Defense Agency Director-General Shigeru Ishiba told a parliamentary committee discussing Japan's plan to send troops. Ishiba pledged to ensure the safety of the troops by "carefully monitoring the security situation." The top government spokesman also was cautious. "It is good that the link has been broken between former president (Saddam) Hussein and his followers," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda told the committee. "But I don't think the removal of Hussein will resolve everything."

Agence France-Presse ("SOUTH KOREA GOVERNMENT, INVESTORS WELCOME SADDAM CAPTURE," 12/15/03) reported that the ROK has welcomed the capture of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein as markets soared on hopes that peace will now take root in Iraq. Top foreign policy and national security officials met overnight to discuss what impact the arrest would have on Seoul's plan to dispatch several thousand troops to Iraq to support US-led stabilization efforts. The US request for more troops has split public opinion and triggered demonstrations in South Korea both for and against the dispatch of troops. "Our government hopes that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's arrest will help eradicate all terrorism in Iraq in the future and serve as an opportunity to bring about political stability and improved livelihood of the Iraqi people and to accelerate post-war recovery and reconstruction," Foreign Ministry spokesman Shin Bong-Kil said in a statement. "Our government hopes peace will take root in Iraq."

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3. ROK Domestic Politics

Agence France-Presse ("FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ADMITS ILLEGAL FUNDRAISING," 12/15/03) reported that the ROK's failed conservative presidential candidate Lee Hoi-Chang has dramatically confessed to illegal campaign fundraising and said he deserved to go to prison. Lee turned himself in to prosecutors after confessing in a televised news conference that he had collected some 50 billion won (42 million dollars) in illegal funds from major business groups to finance his failed election campaign last year. "It is entirely my responsibility, and it is a matter of course that I should be punished," Lee said. "I will shoulder the entire burden and go to prison." After his bombshell announcement, the former presidential candidate for South Korea's main opposition Grand National Party (GNP) turned himself in to prosecutors. A close aid to Lee, the narrow loser in last year's presidential election, was arrested last week on charges of taking illegal funds in a widening slush fund probe by state prosecutors.

Agence France-Presse ("SOUTH KOREA'S ROH OFFERS TO QUIT OVER CORRUPTION SCANDAL," 12/14/03) reported that ROK President Roh Moo-Hyun said he was prepared to quit over a political slush fund scandal that has emerged as the latest threat to his already troubled career. Roh told a political meeting that if a probe into illegal funding revealed his party had accepted more undeclared cash than his rivals he would resign, according to presidential spokesman Yoon Tai-Young. "I will step down and quit politics if my camp is found to have improperly accepted funds totaling more than a tenth of the donations the GNP took," he was quoted as saying. Hit by corruption scandals implicating his associates, Roh has already called for a national referendum on his rule, saying he would resign if he lost the vote. Roh expressed "shame" for the implication of his associates in the slush fund scandal and said he was ready to accept an independent inquiry of his camp when state prosecutors complete their investigation, the spokesman said.

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4. PRC Terror List

Agence France-Presse ("CHINA ISSUES FIRST EVER LIST OF "TERRORIST" GROUPS, SEEKS INTERNATIONAL HELP," 12/15/03) reported that the PRC has issued its first ever list of "terrorist" groups, blaming them for a series of bombings and assassinations and calling for international assistance to wipe them out. The groups are accused of trying to create an independent Islamic state called "East Turkistan" in northwest China's Xinjiang region, which is populated by the Turkish-speaking Uighur Muslims. East Turkistan forces inside and outside China have long plotted and executed a series of bombings, assassinations, arsons, poisoning attacks and other activities in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China, said Ministry of Public Security official Zhao Yongshen. The groups carried out their attacks "to achieve their goal of undermining national unity," said Zhao, deputy director of the ministry's bureau of anti-terrorism. "With numerous crimes committed, they have seriously endangered the safety of the life and property of the PRC people, and other ethnic groups and threatened the security and stability of relevant countries in the region," Zhao said at a briefing. He called for help from countries where the groups operate. "I strongly call on governments of all foreign countries ... to outlaw the four terrorist organizations that our country has designated ... stop providing safe havens for these organizations and freeze their assets," Zhao said. The groups identified were the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the Eastern Turkistan Liberation Organization (ETLO), the World Uighur Youth Congress (WUYC) and the East Turkistan Information Center (ETIC). China said the ETIM and ETLO have received funding from al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, including several million US dollars to spread religious extremism and carry out terrorist activities.

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5. US-Taiwan Relations

Agence France-Presse ("US COMMITTED TO DEFENDING TAIWAN, BUT SUBMARINE DEAL ON THE ROCKS," 12/15/03) reported that the US commitment to help Taiwan defend itself has not changed, defense experts here said, despite President George W. Bush's stern rebuke of Taiwan's referendum plans earlier this week. But a 2001 pledge to sell eight submarines to Taipei faces hurdles, they said. "Bush's statement in 2001 was that the US will do what it takes to help Taiwan defend itself. There is no change. In 2001, Bush offered to sell eight submarines to Taipei in what would be the biggest provision of arms by the US to the island since 1992. But that project has yet to see the light of day, despite initial delivery slated for 2007. "There are still a number of hurdles to be overcome before this program materializes to the point that it would enter into production," said Randy Belote, an official with defense group Northrup Grumman. The US, which has an all-nuclear submarine fleet, last built a deisel-powered submarine in 1960, and is seeking a foreign supplier for the Taiwan deal. Northrup Grumman has proposed hydrogen-powered submarines produced by German shipyard HDW. "First of all, it has to be approved by the US and the Taiwanese governments," Belote said. Germany must also authorize the export of its technology, but is reluctant to do so for fear of irritating the PRC, he said. Taipei has expressed interest in the submarines but considers the 11 billion dollar price tag set by the US Navy exorbitant.

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6. PRC-US Relations

Agence France-Presse ("CHINA SLAMS US DIPLOMAT IN HONG KONG FOR INTERFERING IN CHINA'S AFFAIRS," 12/14/03) reported that the PRC accused a US diplomat of meddling in its internal affairs after he called for greater democracy in Hong Kong. A foreign ministry spokeswoman in Hong Kong criticized US consul general James Keith for making "irresponsible" remarks when he called for universal suffrage and an early debate on constitutional change at a meeting on Thursday. In a sharp rebuke, the spokeswoman said Beijing strongly opposed any interference from a foreign nation. "Recently, the consul general of the US Consulate in Hong Kong made some irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong's political development," she was quoted by Xinhua news agency. "We must point out that the political development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is an internal affair of China and we firmly oppose interference from any foreign nation." At the meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, Keith said that the record million-plus voter turnout at district elections in the former British colony last month highlighted the role that democracy could play. "It is the US' belief that history has more than demonstrated that the best way to respond to the will of the pepple is through universal suffrage," Keith was quoted by the South China Morning Post as saying. "We believe the best next step is to begin full and public consultations on democratisation as soon as possible."

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7. Greenspan on PRC Trade Relations

Agence France-Presse ("GREENSPAN WARNS AGAINST MAKING CHINA A SCAPEGOAT FOR US JOBS," 12/14/03) reported that US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has warned against making China a scapegoat for all the ills of the American labor market in the runup to the November 2004 elections. "The renminbi (yuan) is widely believed to be markedly undervalued, and it is claimed that a rise in the renminbi will slow exports from China to the US -- which, according to some, will create increased job opportunities for Americans at home," he told a group of Texas business executives Thursday. "The story on trade and jobs, in my judgment, is a bit more complex -- especially with respect to China -- than this strain of conventional wisdom would lead one to believe," he said. In fact, "a rise in the value of the renminbi would be unlikely to have much, if any, effect on aggregate employment in the US." Increasingly vocal PRC critics here argue that Beijing is artificially depressing the value of its currency by tying the yuan at about 8.3 to the dollar despite a boom in its economy. As a result, critics say, jobs are lost in the US.

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8. Japan Enola Gay Display Response

Agence France-Presse ("GRIEF OVERFLOWS, ANGER FLARES AS HIROSHIMA BOMBER GOES ON DISPLAY," 12/16/03) reported that grief overflowed and anger erupted as aged Japanese survivors confronted the Enola Gay, the US warplane which unleashed the world's first atom bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. Six survivors and around 50 peace activists held up pictures of hideously burned victims among the tens of thousands killed or injured by the blast, as the restored and shiny silver Boeing B-29 Superfortress loomed overhead. The Enola Gay was put on display for the first time in one piece on opening day for a vast new annex to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, which also includes a just retired French Concorde and space shuttle prototype. One protestor threw a bag of paint at the aircraft, and was hauled away by police, though activists could not identify the man. It was not clear if the Enola Gay was damaged. The vigil stirred anger among some visitors to the museum, just under the flight path of Dulles international airport outside Washington. "Remember Pearl Harbor" "Go home" "What about the Nanjing massacre?" several men shouted in references to the imperial Japanese army, as several scuffles broke out with activists. Other men, including several US war veterans, took part in animated arguments which peace activists. Several young Japanese visitors to the museum were overcome by emotion and in tears. "This is the second time I have seen the Enola Gay," said Hiroshima survivor Minoru Nishino, 71, who was two kilometres (miles) from the epicentre of the blast, and still bears scars from his burns. "The first time was on August 6, 1945, when I saw it flying high in the sky. "When I saw the Enola Gay today, I was overcome by anger." Another survivor, Tamiko Tomonaga, 74, said she had come to see the plane in memory of all those who died in the twin atom bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in the closing days of World War II. Survivors are disappointed the plane is being displayed with no reference to casualty figures at Hiroshima, which some estimates say reach 230,000 people, when those who died in later years of radiation poisoning are included.

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9. Russia-Japan Siberian Oil Pipeline

Agence France-Presse ("RUSSIAN PM IN JAPAN FOR ECONOMIC TALKS FOCUSING ON SIBERIAN PIPELINE," 12/15/03) reported that Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov has arrived here for talks expected to focus on economic ties, setting aside a territorial dispute between the two former Cold-War foes. Kasyanov told Japanese media last week he would touch on a controversial Siberian oil pipeline scheme in his talks with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and other Japanese government and business leaders during a three-day visit. Russia is being lobbied by both China and Japan over competing pipeline projects -- one to carry crude oil from Siberia to China's inland petrochemical center of Daqing and the other from Siberia to the Russian Pacific port of Nakhodka facing Japan. The 2,400-kilometre (1,440-mile) PRC pipeline, which would cost around 2.5 billion dollars, is seen as more commercially viable. However, resources-poor Japan, which depends heavily on the volatile Middle East for its oil, has offered to help finance the five billion dollars needed to build the 4,000-kilometre (2,500-mile) Siberia-Nakhodka pipeline. Kasyanov, who is mainly charged with economic affairs, told Japanese journalists in Moscow last week that he wanted to see whether Japanese firms would invest in surveys on the size of oil reserves to be exploited for the pipeline. He is scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi later Monday, and Koizumi and Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Shoichi Nakagawa Tuesday.

II. Republic of Korea

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1. U.S. Says the Next Six-Party Talks Is Scheduled For January

Chosun Ilbo (Ju Yong-jung, WASHINGTON, "U.S. SAYS SIX-PARTY TALKS SCHEDULED FOR JANUARY," 12/14/03) reported that according to a report in the Associated Press, high-level Bush Administration officials say that the second round of six-party talks will likely be delayed until January 2004 due to DPRK's insistence on its conditions for the talks. An administration official who requested anonymity said that there are no major differences of opinion on the drafting of a possible joint statement, currently underway between ROK, U.S., Japan, PRC, and Russia, and that the sides are currently fine-tuning the document. But, he said, U.S. has said that there is no need to have everything perfectly set before the talks open, while DPRK have been demanding American concessions even before the talks open, an obstacle to beginning the next round. Another Bush Administration official said the White House hopes to begin the second round of talks in next January. Bush Administration officials said that PRC is mediating with DPRK, but it does not appear that DPRK will back off from its initial demands.

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2. DPRK Boat with A DPRK Soldier Was Found in East Sea

Chosun Ilbo (Yu Yong-won, "NORTH KOREAN FOUND ADRIFT IN EAST SEA," 12/14/03) reported that A small DPRK boat with a DPRK soldier onboard which was discovered floundering off the east coast has been towed to Seokcho Harbor. According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at around 9:30 p.m. on December 13, a Navy patrol plane discovered a DPRK vessel drifting 28 miles off the coast of Goseong County, Gangwon Province. A patrol boat set out for the site at around 2:30 a.m., and returned to Seokcho at around 9:40 a.m., towing the DPRK ship. Law enforcement, national security, and intelligence agencies then conducted inquiries into claims by the boat's passenger, a 37-year old man from Wonsan named Lee, that his ship had gotten stuck off the coast. Lee said his boat, which was anchored in Wonsan, came loose from its moorings on December 8 at around 10 a.m. and started to drift, and Lee revealed to patrolmen his identity as a soldier while he was being towed. The DPRK boat is made of metal, and measures 7.1 meters long and 1.9 meters wide. On board were a diving suit, about 10 kilograms of shellfish, bedding, a rice cooker, and miscellaneous items. A Defense Ministry source said that so far, an inquiry has revealed that Lee accidentally floundered into southern waters, and it appears he wants to be repatriated to DPRK," and "Once the investigation of Mr. Lee is concluded, we shall make a decision that respects the desires of the individual involved."

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3. U.S. Reaffirms Stance On USFK Pullback

Chosun Ilbo (Yoo Yong-won, "U.S. REAFFIRMS STANCE ON TROOP PULLBACK," 12/14/03) reported that U.S. Forces in ROK (USFK) has reconfirmed its intention to move all of the Combined Forces Command and the United Nations Command south of Seoul. An official at the Ministry of National Defense said Sunday that Lt. Gen. Charles C. Campbell, commander of the U.S. Eighth Army, visited the ministry and reaffirmed the U.S. Army's original stance: that the ministry must provide 280,000 pyeong of land in Seoul or the army will move to Osan and Pyeongtaek. The ministry said it informed Campbell that ROK government is open to partial negotiations on the size of the base, which it said Campbell declined. In consideration of public opinion, ROK government took a step back and devised a compromise proposal that would grant 200,000 of land for the USFK in Seoul. The original position of ROK government was to give 170,000 pyeong. USFK commander General Leon LaPorte said on December 1 in a meeting with Shin Il-soon, the Deputy Commander of the ROK-US Combined Forces Com! mand, that the official stance of the U.S. government is to move the Combined Forces Command and the United Nations Command to Osan and Pyeongtaek by 2006, an informed source said. In response to Shin's statement that ROK government wants the Combined Forces Command and the United Nations Command to remain in Seoul, and proposed negotiations, LaPort said that there are no changes made in the decision of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to move the Combined Forces Command and the United Nations Command to south of Seoul. The U.S. Congress approved an additional budget for building new facilities in Camp Humphrey, Pyeongtaek, in order to fulfill an agreement between ROK and U.S. to move the Yongsan Base to south of the Han River by 2006, Stars and Stripes reported.

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4. Former Governor Of Vermont Agrees With DPRK's Non-agression Deal

Joongang Ilbo (Arirang TV, "HOWARD DEAN AGREES WITH NORTH KOREA'S NON-AGGRESSION DEAL," 12/15/03) reported that the leading runner-up for next year's U.S. presidential election and former governor of Vermont, Howard Dean has outlined his foreign policy views on DPRK for the first time. During an interivew with the Washington Post published on Sunday Dean said he would offer a package deal to DPRK if Pyeongyang renounces its nuclear ambitions, a move that breaks the approaches made by U.S. President George W. Bush. The former governor added the deal would include economic aid, energy assistance and a non-aggression pact in exchange for DPRK's dismantlement of its nuclear weapons program. The leading U.S. daily pointed out the two candidates' policy views on DPRK contrast the most among other issues. While Bush continues to refuse holding direct talks with Pyeongyang, Dean said he would move immediately to bilateral negotiations. Dean also criticized Bush's approach to resolving the nuclear crisis, saying it was an example of the president wasting 15 months because of hard-liners in the current administration. He also stressed DPRK must be able to enter the community of nations rather than having such states of unacceptable behavior be placed beyond their control.

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5. EU Envoys Brief ROK On Discussion With DPRK

Joongang Ilbo (Choi Jie-ho, "EU ENVOYS BRIEF SEOUL ON DISCUSSIONS WITH NORTH," 12/13/03) reported that diplomats from the European Union held a press conference here yesterday to discuss their four-day visit to DPRK, which comprised the sixth annual political talks between the EU and DPRK. Earlier yesterday, they briefed Foreign Minister Yoon Young-kwan on the results of their visit. They also delivered a message to him from Paek Nam-sun, DPRK's foreign minister, which said, "DPRK very much appreciates the non-opposing attitude of ROK to DPRK's package offer." On Monday, a joint proposal by U.S., ROK and Japan was made to end the DPRK nuclear crisis. On the next day, DPRK demanded that U.S. lift its sanctions and provide energy aid in return for freezing its nuclear programs. One of the diplomats, Italy's Guido Martini, said that the EU supported the resumption of six-nation talks on DPRK's nuclear problem. He also said the diplomats conveyed that the settlement of the nuclear issue was a precondition to the EU's economic cooperation with DPRK.

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6. Oil Pipe Between PRC And DPRK Was Found And Verified Donga Ilbo (Park Won Jae, "OIL PIPE BETWEEN CHINA AND NORTH KOREA VERIFIED," 12/14/03) reported that Yomiuri Shimbun reported, quoting sources in PRC, on December 14 that it has confirmed the existence of an oil pipe which connects Daching oil field, the largest in PRC, and Ahnju in DPRK. That means PRC has full control of the DPRK energy circumstances. According to Yomiuri, this oil pipe, established in 1976, is 40 centimeters long in diameter and delivers approximately four million tons of oil annually. Three oil refinery stations have been established at Musun, Dandung, and the terminal spot in DPRK. The existence of oil pipe between PRC and DPRK had attracted the people's attention when PRC ceased oil delivery for three days in order to exert pressure on DPRK to force them to participate in the six-nation talks which is aimed at the nuclear dismantlement in DPRK. However, the exact route and capacity of the oil pipe has not been disclosed so far. The amount of oil that PRC supplied to DPRK reached 800,000 to 1 million tons annually in the mid-1990s. But, as an additional 500,000 tons of heavy oil were used to support DPRK as an excuse for nuclear substances' dismantlement in mid-1990s, the oil from PRC was reduced to the level of 300,000 tons in 1999. It increased again from 2000, but in 2002 when the nuclear problem occurred again, it decreased to 470,000 tons a year. Yomiuri reported that the heavy oil supply from U.S. and ROK had ceased since the end of 2002, and DPRK entirely depends on this pipe as an origin for oil.

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